“Family medicine is an unstoppable force but we have work to do. Engage your colleagues!” That was the message from AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., at the opening event of AAFP’s Annual Leadership Forum, and the unofficial theme of both ALF and its sister conference, the National Conference of Special Constituencies, held in Kansas City this past weekend.
More than 20 TAFP delegates, leaders, and staff attended to represent our state. NCSC attendees—representing GLBT physicians, minority physicians, women, international medical graduates, and new physicians—developed recommendations for the AAFP Congress of Delegates and held elections for various national leadership positions. ALF attendees learned the latest on leadership, association management, media interaction, website optimization, and how to stay relevant in a competitive market.
Above the business of the conference, however, was the fellowship of nearly 400 family physicians and family medicine advocates from around the country who came together to advance common goals.
“While health care costs are rising and we have still not found a way to care for the millions of uninsured in the United States, the energy and passion of the hundreds of family doctors who gathered in Kansas City fills me with hope and enthusiasm,” wrote TAFP President-elect Troy Fiesinger, M.D., of Sugar Land on his blog.
“I renewed old acquaintances, made new friends, and put faces to Twitter handles. Millennials, Generation Yers, Gen Xers, and Boomers shared their commitment to their patients and to solving the problems we face.”
Once again, the social media engagement was “through the roof,” to quote our Pennsylvania colleagues, @PAFPandF, with photos and quotes flying on Twitter and Facebook. To view a wrap of Tweets and tweeted photos, view the Storify digest from Kirk Ackerman, AAFP’s social media manager.
We are incredibly proud of all of our representatives, especially those who were elected to higher office. Elected as one of two New Physician alternate delegates to the AAFP Congress of Delegates was Kelly Gabler, M.D., faculty at San Jacinto Methodist Residency Program in Baytown, Texas. Bruce Echols, M.D., a family physician in Dallas, was elected as one of eight special constituency co-conveners.
And though we can’t technically claim her anymore, Marie-Elizabeth Ramas, M.D., of Mount Shasta, Calif., an alumna of the Conroe Medical Education Foundation Family Medicine Residency Program who worked with TAFP on our scope of practice advocacy, was elected as a special constituency alternate delegate to the AAFP Congress and co-convener of the 2013 NCSC. View all the newly elected delegates on AAFP’s website.
Now that the 2012 NCSC and ALF have concluded, the real work begins to implement the reform and move the family medicine agenda along. As physician blogger Mike Sevilla, M.D., of Salem, Ohio, says, we must “turn our emotion into action” for the good of our patients and communities.
Save the date for next year’s event, April 25-27, 2013. We’ll put out the call for delegates and about opportunities for travel funding in January 2013. To add your name to our NCSC/ALF contact list or for more information on these conferences, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.